How many business cards did you pick up at the last event you attended? Business cards have been around for ages and seem to be the easiest and fastest way to share and our contact information with others. Power networkers have been known to collect and exchange 100 or more business cards in one day. But, once you’ve got the card, what do you do with it? Often they’ll end up in our bags, pockets or purses and never quite make it into our address books because no one wants to spend the time to input and organize the information.
Poken – The Digital Business Card
In this digital age, what is the answer to every paper pushing problem we have? Make it electronic, right?
That’s the idea behind the Poken. It’s the newest gadget to hit the event community and it’s a winner in my books! With these super little guys you can exchange all your contact information – including all your social network profiles – instantly by touching Pokens together. I know, it sounds kinda kinky with the name and the touching and all, but it just makes it all the more fun!
Poken solves one simple problem: how do I remember the email addresses and screen names of everyone I meet? At your next event bring along your Poken and voila you are a walking talking contact exchanging master! You can choose from a few sleek designs created for the professional, or choose from many cute cartoon looking characters .
The new executive collection called the Poken Pulse is a 2gb USB flash drive and Poken all in one. The ones with cartoon characters are called the Poken Spark . (My favorite character is the Poken Ninja.)
As a brand, you can even have your own customized Poken created just for you and use them as promotional gifts at events. When you’re thinking of promotional gifts to offer your guests your goal is to give them something that has “keepability”…meaning they will not trash it, lose it, or give it away. Poken as promo gifts give your guests a useful tool that will be taken with them everywhere and will flash your logo every time they use it.
How Do Poken Work?
You buy a Poken for around $20, open a FREE account at http://www.doyoupoken.com and set up your account. Load your profiles, design your “ID Card”. Attach the Poken to your keychain, keep it in your pocket or purse or use the provided lanyard for easy access at events.
When you meet someone in the Real World, touch Poken-to-Poken, feel the magnetic pull and look for the green light as they share your Facebook, Twitter and other social network profiles.
Once you’re done for the day, just bring it back, plug your Poken into your computer’s USB port, and download the data. You’ll notice now that you have pending friends on your account page. Once you accept them you’ll not only have their contact information but also their Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, and other social network names.
Building your own contact card is easy. Simply add in whatever fields you want. And because it’s digital if you change jobs or join a new social network, as soon as you update your Poken business card, all of your friends and colleagues will have the contact information changed on their devices. You can also instantly be export all your new friend info from the website to Outlook and other email programs via downloadable vcards.
Pros: The simplicity of exchanging contact info and the automatic updates for each contact is something I really love. Just touch Pokens, look for the green light and you know the next time you plug your Poken into your computer you’ll have that person’s contact information as well as links to their social media profiles. The price point is great too, at just around $20 for the Spark and $35 for the USB flash drive version, it’s a deal. Oh and did I mention there is no monthly fee?
Cons: Because Poken is just catching on in the US, you’re not always going to find that everyone already has one. But as more people start using them and seeing how simple the idea is, it will only be a short time before Poken is the standard. Still plan on carrying some regular business cards with you. Just be sure to remind your new contacts how much time and effort you both could have saved by going digital with Poken.
I’m sold on the idea. As a matter of fact, I am so sold that I’ve decided to become an affiliate for Poken and may be sponsored by them at this year’s SXSW convention. (Keep your fingers crossed for me!) If you do decide to purchase any Pokens, the links in this post are my affiliate links. I appreciate it if you use them, but no worries if you don’t.
So, what’s your take on the Poken strategy for contact exchange? Have you seen anyone using them yet? Please leave your comments and suggestions below. As always, I love talking with you!
To Your Success,
December 29, 2009 58 Comments
Tools are meant to make your life easier, so which ones should you have in your bag of tricks to ease your social media monitoring? When you’re working with social media marketing it’s important to know what’s being said about you and your brand. It’s also important to keep tabs on what your competition is up to and follow the latest marketing trends.
There are so many social media tools to choose from and brilliant new applications springing up every day but if I had to choose 10 of the best social media tools for brands and solopreneurs these are the ones I’d pick (for now):
1. Social Mention
With Social Mention you can easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.
2. Tweet Deck
I can’t say enough about how much I love Tweet Deck and all the features built in to make your Twitter experience much easier. When I first discovered Tweet Deck it was basically just a way to group your followers. Then they added Facebook, MySpace and most recently LinkedIn to the platform to monitor updates without ever leaving your Deck. Now that they have added Twitter lists, spam blocker and several other nifty features I am totally infatuated. As a matter of fact, I may just have to devote an entire post on getting the most out of Tweet Deck.
3. Google Blog Search
Google Blog Search is a great tool to track other blogs in your niche and keep up on what’s being talked about by your peers. By using blog search Google will dish up only blogs and sicn out all the other types of sites out there. Do a search for your site and if it doesn’t turn up then click here to add your site to Google Blog Search.
4. Board Reader
Board Reader is a search engine for Forums and Boards created to allow users to search the “human to human” discussions that exist on the Internet. Forums tend to be where people “let it all hang out” and is a good way to get a real idea of what’s being said underground. It’s also a good way to get answers. I know when I am looking for technical help I will usually find my answer on a forum where someone else was having the same issue that I was.
BlogPulse is a blog search engine that also analyzes and reports on daily activity in the blogosphere. You will find excellent, up-to-the-minute trend graphs tracking blogging volume and activity on key issues, people, news stories, news sources, bloggers and more. A pretty cool feature is the Trend Search that allows you to create trend charts comparing buzz in the blogosphere on up to three specific topics. The Conversation Tracker follows and captures the discussion, or conversation, that emanates and spreads from individual blogs or individual blog posts.
BackType is a real-time, conversational search engine similar to the conversation tracker on BlogPulse. Backtype indexes and connects online conversations from across the web in real-time, so you can see what people are saying about topics that interest you. Conversational search is a new way of searching the web to surface what reputable people are saying about topics and websites that interest you.
With an index of over 35 million hours of searchable video and more than 650 media partnerships Blinkx is now the world’s largest single index of rich media content on the Web, delivering more content from a broader range of sources than either Google or Yahoo. If you are looking for video content or just want to do a check on what’s being said about you in the video world, Blinkx is your one stop shop.
8. Google Alerts
Plainly stated, EVERYONE should have Google Alerts set up to notify you every time your brand, your keywords, or your name is mentioned online. It is the simplest of all notifications and you can have your alerts sent as they happen to your email or via RSS reader.
9. Twitter Search
I use Twitter Search constantly to find out what is being said in my niche. I’ve set up searches for women in marketing, social media, and several others. The nice thing about Twitter Search is that it saves your last search to your sidebar for easy retrieval. You can do much more than just search for keywords though. You can even search for the emotion behind the tweet by adding “search operators”. So, if you were looking for movie that wasn’t scary and had positive feedback you would search: “movie -scary ” (Without quotations). Mashable has an excellent article on all the advance search features of Twitter that I highly recommend.
10. Yahoo Pipes
You can merge RSS feeds from all of the above mentioned tools using Yahoo Pipes to create your own custom monitoring tool. I took a look at Yahoo Pipes a couple weeks ago and started fidgeting with it and I see incredible potential. It’s on my list of to-do’s because I know as a Community Manager it’s the ultimate in organizing everything all together. You have permission to harp on me until I get it done! Or, better yet…if YOU are an expert at Yahoo Pipes, I invite you to send me a guest post with your best tips!
What social media tools are your favorites? Any experience with the ones I’ve shared here? Would you be interested in sharing a guest post on creative techniques to use a social media tool? Leave your comments below.
UPDATE: Just after publishing this post, TechCrunch broke the news of Ex-MySpace Execs launching a new tool called Gravity today. Gravity is focused on building out the Interest Graph for the web to help people connect with their passions and discover people and topics that are personally relevant. TechCrunch describes the launch:
Today the company, now called Gravity, is launching into private beta. At a high level Gravity is an evolution on forums (vBulletin, phpBB, etc.) and groups (Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, etc.) services, which haven’t evolved much over the last decade.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Gravity is available both as a website service at Gravity.com as well as distributed via widgets and an API. They are also offering compelling analytics services for any service that hosts conversations (think broadly – Twitter, FriendFeed, Google Wave, etc.). That service, called Insights, is arguably a startup in itself.
Please take the time to read the full article on TechCrunch’s site. They go into great detail and is definitely worth checking out. You may just add Gravity to your arsenal as well!
To Your Success,
December 16, 2009 39 Comments
This week we’re continuing on with our event marketing with social media series to drive home the I promised you a series on event marketing with social media and I’ve got a great article I’m working on with tips from experts in the field. The thing is, I really want to make it an article packed with value and it’s taking me a bit longer than I’d planned.
So…in the meantime I found this excellent video with Jason Falls on the effectiveness of social media in event marketing. Jason’s worked as a social media strategist with some top names including several Fortune 100 brands like NASCAR, Jim Beam and Humana and really understands the power of social media in event marketing as well as brand awareness.
Spend a couple minutes listening as Jason shares how to use Twitter, hashtags, and updates to draw more attention and attendees to virtual events. Then come back tomorrow for that post I am working on where we’ll cover face to face events as well as virtual. You’ll be glad you did!
This video is an interview that InXpo did with Jason Falls. InXpo conducts privately-branded virtual events, such as Trade Shows, Career Fairs and Corporate Events, as well as Audio and Video Webcasts. I did a little searching and discovered on Virtual World News that Inxpo is now heading up virtual trade shows for Marketing Profs, so I know they must be good! I have a call in to their office to do short interview as well. Hoping to hear back soon so I can add that to this series as well…just another reason to keep checking back!
To Your Success,
P.S. ~~> Don’t miss the next article on event marketing with social media that I’ll be posting this week, you find it packed with personal tips from social media experts like Mari Smith, Warren Whitlock, Jason Falls & a some other great names!!
November 17, 2009 6 Comments
Event planners are quickly learning the value of marketing with social media to attract more attendees to their conferences. All events need one thing to be successful: people. The worst nightmare of any Event Planner is to devote heart and soul into organizing a networking event only to have no bodies in the seats (virtual or not).
If you’re not convinced social media will impact your event, take a look a few reasons WHY you might want to look closer:
Create Buzz- Using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook encourages word of mouth recommendations across several niche markets. The more people talking about an event the bigger the buzz & chance of going viral.
Boost Registration Numbers -Face it, they won’t register if they don’t know about the event. The buzz created entices and gives feeling of “me too”. People want to be a part of what everyone else is talking about.
Community -Events are about networking just as much as the education is. In fact, in some cases the networking opportunity is THE main reason for attending an event. Using social media & hashtags allows attendees to find & follow some new collegues and foster relationships. If it’s a large event, Twitter has been great in helping keep track of which sessions all your friends are in & share what they are learning in real time.
Attract Sponsors and/or Exhibitors -Sponsors want to get in front of people in every form of media as possible. You can add value to your sponsorship package by including sponsored tweets or blog posts. Some of the exhibitors, such as FatBurger or Ford had as much social media exposure at BlogWorld as the keynote speakers.
Create Relevant Content - Follow the Twitter conversations going on about your event and create content around some of the most talked about comments. You can get some great ideas for blog posts and articles from what is being discussed and people are finding relevant.
Feedback – Every event could stand improvement, and what better place to find what’s working and not working than from those experiencing the event for themselves? Using social media for brand reputation is a key tool to a getting an outside glimpse into what people are thinking of the event. Be sure to respond to comments and kudos. Your community is talking about you…know show them you care and you are listening.
If you find that you don’t have time to follow through on marketing your event with social media, then look into hiring a moderator or community manager for your event. You will want someone that is going to not only publicize the fact that you’re having an event but also send out updates on new speakers and seminar subjects, but also provide “power tips” from quotes during the live event, as well as respond quickly to feedback.
Shameless self promotion: I am available to moderate and take on the role as Community Event Manager. My role for the last 3 years has been moderating large teleconference training calls and webinars as well as leading the community for a well known Internet network marketing business opportunity. If you would like more information you can reach me via my contact page or leave me a comment here.
UPDATE: Chris Brogan, a top expert on communities and social media, recently published his own article on how events can use social media. Chris touched on some the same points here and also shared how events can use video production not only for pre-event promotion but also as post-event DVD sales. There are more and more ways to become creative using social media in event marketing. A basic premise that both Chris and I share is when building a community it’s how important it is to stay engaged and keep the excitement going around the event. Chris put it this way:
Here’s the thing about communities, bottom line: if you’re going to build one, realize that you need a community manager capable of making content, capable of keeping the “cocktail party environment” going on the site, and capable of understanding potential business introductions of value that would give all involved some yield for being there.
Now you know a few reasons why you would want to use social media to market your events. Next week I’ll continue on with this series and talk about how to make your events social media friendly and the how & why attendees can use social media to their benefit.
Have some other reasons why an event would want to use social media in their marketing? Disagree with any of the reasons I’ve given? Leave your feedback in the comments. I love to hear from you!
What say ye??
To Your Success,
November 13, 2009 16 Comments
Through all the talk about engagement, interaction & brand awareness, let there be no mistake…social media users “friend” brands on sites like Twitter or Facebook because they expect exclusive deals and offers. Sure, there is that need for personal interaction from a brand to build loyal customers, and there is the quick response from customer service that maintains consumer satisfaction. But, what are social media users really craving? Money saving offers.
I am a bargain hunter. I find it exhilarating to be one of the few to catch a sale only offered for a short time, combine it with a coupon or promo code, and top it off with a rebate for the steal of the century! I may be the extreme, but according to a recent study from Razorfish examining consumers’ digital habits and attitudes, 44% of those surveyed stated the primary reason they follow a brand on Twitter is in the hopes of exclusive offers or deals.
The 2009 FEED Report is Razorfish’s annual study charting how technology is changing the way consumers engage with brands. Razorfish surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers (50.5% female, 49.5% male) in four major age groups that would be considered “connected consumers”: 100% having broadband, visited a community site, consumed or created some type of digital media and who have spent $150 online in the last six months.
Take a look at some of these brand examples, Dell has earned kudos from social media mavens for generating $3 million in sales from its Dell Outlet through Twitter. Starbucks has soared to the top of Facebook brand pages, with nearly 4 million friends, by offering fans coupons for free pastries and ice cream. And Whole Foods tops Twitter with 1.5 million followers by broadcasting weekly specials and shopping tips.
Is Brand Engagement Still Relevant?
For a brand, what it all really boils down to is whether there is any direct correlation between consumers’ online interaction with a brand and their likelihood to purchase a given product or service. According to the Razorfish study, the answer is a definite “yes.” The study shows that 65% of consumers report that a digital brand experience has changed their opinion (either positively or negatively) about a brand or the products and services a brand offers.
64% of surveyed consumers say that their first purchase from a brand was made because of a digital experience online. 97%—a near-unanimous majority—report that a digital brand experience has influenced whether or not they then went on to purchase a product or service from a brand. That is huge.
Garrick Schmitt, Group Vice President, states it well: “Digital brand experiences create customers. As we’ve found in our study, the overwhelming majority of consumers who actively engage with a brand digitally—whether by creating content for a contest or by “friending” a brand on Facebook—show a propensity to both purchase products and recommend those products or that brand to others.”
We want it all. Consumers want to know that the brand cares enough about their customers to engage with us and keep their websites interactive and professional. But we also crave that that home town feel of walking through the door of our general store and being welcomed by our friend the store owner that pulls us aside for the “special friend” discount.
Advertising is not dead in the digital age, but it is adapting. Brands that can adapt with the trend and give customers that home town digital handshake with a deal in hand will be reap the rewards.
To Your Success,
November 9, 2009 16 Comments
Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to answer questions and train several companies on using social media to establish and promote their brand. One of the hardest lessons to swallow is the importance of personal interaction within your community. There is no quick plugin to replace the authenticity that you must build when joining the social media marketing trend. I’ve begun to sound like a broken record, but we can not replace the social in social media.
So where, if at all, does ghost blogging or ghost twittering fit in?
Let’s break this down a bit. There are several types of social media profiles that can be built. You have
1. The Corporate Profile
This is mainly a large company or corporation that may actually have several social profiles for different reasons. You wouldn’t see one person representing every aspect of the company, but rather, you may see several: the IT department tweeting about their newest advances to assure their followers they are staying on the cutting edge of their field; the HR department tweeting about career opportunities & benefits to recruit top employees; or the PR department spreading news of the latest events, press coverage or collaborations to build brand reputation.
A large corporation may hire out a full time blogger or Community Manager to handle their social media marketing strategy. This is completely different than a ghost writer or tweeter. A Community Manager or Blogger is responsible for engaging with the brand’s online community and spending time listening, evaluating and communicating with them. They would also be fully disclosed as such. Jeremiah Owyang has an excellent post defining The Four Tenets of the Community Manager which will give you a better understanding of the role.
2. Celebrities & Performing Artists
Do you really want to engage with the celebrity or with someone that is writing in their behalf? We all know with the massive amount of fans some celebrities have that it would be next to impossible to engage with all of them. One strategy to use would be to have a Community Manager to listen and promote the celebrity, but regularly schedule a time for the celebrity to come online once per week (or as often as possible) to personally engage. Do this every week for a few months, along with proper PR to let your fans know about it, and you will grow a raving fan base.
3. Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner & new to social media, you might try beginning with your most passionate employees to get the ball rolling then bring in the experts to train and tweak your social media strategy and style. The passion expressed by your employees will not be duplicatable by an outsider hired to send out generic tweets or write a disengaged blog post…especially if there is no disclosure as to who the author is. If you’re a sole proprietor with no employees and you lack the writing or communication skills yourself you might consider having your hiring a professional to get you started.
Never invest your money in a company or “Consultant” that will handle all your blog posts and/or tweets without including personal training in social media marketing and show how to take over the reins should you ever need to!
4. Business Opportunities
I debated on whether to include this with small business but just couldn’t do it. Twitter and Facebook are drowning in marketing ploys made by MLM’s, business opportunities, and get rich quick scams. While a biz opp could be considered a small business, you won’t find the same respect in their communities as you would from a small business owner. Biz opps have new people (“business owners/members”) join them everyday. Most of them have no clue about the reputation of the business, who their audience is, or how to use social media to market to them. So, in comes “Joe Millionaire Maker” promising to handle everything for them, claiming thousands of sales being made from Twitter, and professing to understand the diametrics of social media strategies. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. I have seen one company blast the same exact tweet for hundreds of different biz opps in one day. Ask yourself, is this engaging? Yes, they “live life by design”. The design is to keep you ignorant as long as possible so they can take your money.
If you are serious about the opportunity and you truly believe in it, then treat it as your own small business. Learn from the true professionals that are knitted to the social media realm, attending events, communicating with the top level social media strategists, and sharing their knowledge. More than any other category, Business Opportunities need their online reputation to be authentic, caring and knowledgeable.
Don’t be a poser. And don’t allow someone to sell you the idea that a self development blog written by ghost content writers will attract tons of traffic. Don’t be fooled into thinking free directory or forum posts will give you the massive traffic they promise. The only ones you will attract are the ones that are doing the same thing you are…selling a get rich quick idea.
Opinions? Comments? Love to hear them. Please share below!
To Your Success,
November 3, 2009 17 Comments
I have a question I have been wanting to ask you…yes, YOU. How can I make Market Like A Chick more constructive for you?
In an effort to keep improving the blog and making it more effective in helping you, I’d like to know what Market Like A Chick means to you. What do you come here for and what would you like to expect to see when you get here?
I don’t want to lead you into your suggestions or put the ideas in your head, but sometimes a few suggestions are helpful to get our minds going.. So here are some areas you might like to comment on:
- Topics – are there topics (specific or general) you’d like covered in the coming months? What are the main issues that you’re facing in your marketing, blogging or business at the moment? What would you like to learn about or grow most in for the remainder of the year?
- Types of Posts - reader questions, tutorials, case studies, short tips, guest posts, tool reviews…. Let me know what you would like to see most/least
- Posting Frequency – too many posts, not enough, just right?
- Design – Is the blog easy to navigate, can you find what you’re looking for, links and tabs convenient?
- Blog Features – what would make your reader experience better?
- Community – do you feel you connect well with other me and the other readers? Are there features that you’d like added to help connect more?
- Services and Tools – what could Market Like A Chick offer you to help you improve?
- What Frustrates You about Market Like A Chick? What is Best about it?
- Other Ideas and Feedback – anything goes, big or little.
My short list of ‘Rules’ – Any feedback, suggestions, dreams or ideas that you have are welcome. I do make a commitment to you right now to read anything you have to say. I can’t promise to respond to each comment or put every suggestion into place but I will consider and appreciate all feedback.
I only ask these simple things from you: Please be honest, courteous and constructive with your feedback.
Market Like A Chick is a venture that I pour A LOT of time and effort into – so even though criticism can be a little difficult to hear – I think it’s imperative to consider it all if I want to be a valuable resource for bloggers and business owners wanting to improve their marketing skills.
So it’s your turn now. Feel free to either leave your feedback in comments below or to share them privately with me via my Contact Page…and THANK YOU for participating. We will help each other this way.
To Your Success,
October 22, 2009 6 Comments
In Social Media the Return on Investment (ROI) is based largely on the influence you have upon your group of friends. If you’re just starting out in social media, you may not have much influence built up at all, because it all comes with trust. You can build trust or borrow it. If you get a referral or nod from a power influencer or firestarter, you are borrowing their trust.
An example of influence at work: Your yoga instructor friend is amazing, you watch as she teaches with grace and peacefulness everyday. One day she comes in and tells her class who her guru was and recommends a cd or book by them. 90% of that class is going to go buy or at least investigate her recommendation. Why? Because she has built your trust and you see her success, so you are influenced by her recommendation. It’s the same in the online world. To build your return on influence you just need to build trust or identify who the influencers are and develop those relationships so you can borrow from the trust they have built with their network. Social networking has made his ultra simple to do.
Here’s my top 20 Tips for the best ROI (Return on Influence) in Social Media
1. Learn how to recognize the influencers and firestarters on each of your social networks. You will be needing them to help build your ROI.
2. Make it your goal to get to know the influencers and build more than just a business relationship with them. Please don’t just bombard the top people on your network with ridiculous requests to back you when they don’t even know you. It’s like walking up to a someone you’ve never met at a bar and asking them to have sex with you. Be respectful. Build relationships and trust…you’re in it for the long term relationships not the one night stand.
3. Be Real with people. When you are first entering a new network, be real. Don’t be fake & brown nose it just to get in with the “in” crowd. They will see it.
4. Listen. To be a better marketer you need to be a better listener. Have you ever had a relationship that ended because the other person never seemed to listen to you? That rate is times 10 in social media because it’s easy to click & unfollow.
5. Care about others. Goes right along with listening, but you need to SHOW you are listening. Take notice of the needs of others and talk to them about it. This is where you may be able to recommend yourself or another.
6. Don’t be all about selling. Those that have been online a while know who’s there to market & sell, and who’s there to build relationships. Remember, your goal is to build relationships with the influencers. They smell SALES PITCH coming a mile away, and some will call foul the moment they do. That is NOT good for your ROI!
7. Use the “Me Too” ideal. We all prefer to buy from people we relate to or that are like us. You like Dexter? Me too! (Yes, I am a huge Dexter fan. I plan my Sunday’s around football & Dexter!) Be yourself & be relatable to.
8. Be Human. Showing your individual likes/dislikes, talk about what you’re in to. There are so many choices out there in social networking. What makes you different and relatable to others?
9. Don’t be the Karen or the Brian in your group. If you’re a Dane Cook fan you know what I’m talking about. There is always one person in your group of friends that no one really likes. They may let them hang around, but When they leave, everyone talks about how that one person sucks. If you’re not familiar with Karen or Brian, watch this video & you’ll get it. (Warning: Dane Cook is hilarious, but you’ve got to be okay with the f-bomb and a few dbag references)
10. Value the attention when you get it. People are starved for time and we are generally thinking about 5 or 6 things at once as we pretend to give something our full attention. If you manage to capture some attention from your group don’t squander it, and don’t constantly ask to be in the spotlight. Value the attention you’re given because we are giving something we really don’t have much of.
11. Find lovers of your services or products. Anyone can pay for advertisement, but what if your friend told you about something they love..no sponsoring, no incentive involved? Isn’t that more compelling?
12. Make & develop relationships with various types of people. I know the whole “target market” and “stay in your niche” is being screamed by those calling themselves organic followers. But, we are talking about networking..be the person that anyone can turn to when they need a tip on how to find a good photographer, dentist, or even babysitter. Be the one to turn to in several walks of life.
13. Keep your connections alive. You don’t want to slack off and stop communicating and then one day when you NEED that person go back and ask for help out of the blue. Stay close to your network.
14. Guard and protect your network. You want to share & help promote your connections, but you want to stay within your circle of trust. Your friends will appreciate it when you keep Karen to yourself.
15. Don’t focus on the numbers. A short term marketer or sales person only sees the number they need to hit or the volume they need to produce. Social media is about long term relationship building. Make it your goal to build lifelong connections.
16. Treat your network like a garden. Tend to your group, check on them to see if they need some motivation to grow, some TLC after a long day, or to celebrate after a new opportunity blossoms into a success!
17. Understand how the influencers work and imitate what they do. Watch their every move and how they communicate with their network. Ask yourself how they got to be where they are at. Who are their influencers? (This does not mean plagiarize)
18. Attend live events. Nothing replaces the face to face contact and personal connections you will make when you are rubbing elbows with someone. Virtual relationships are great, but mix it up & solidify those relationships by going to local meetups and large events. Are you headed to Blogworld next week? If not you are missing a tremendous opportunity!
19. Don’t be a bore. Let your personality shine and you will find the influential connections come much easier. The firestarters have been around a while and they have seen it all. Be different, be fun, be yourself. Relax and enjoy making friends, you’ll come across as a cool person to know & easy to recommend.
20. Don’t be a social litterbug. If you’re going to create social profiles on every network out there and only visit them once, then your profile has just become online litter. It clogs the system. Don’t just ping your updates to a bunch of sites, but go back and communicate with each network. Otherwise, do us all a favor and just delete the profile.
Those days are over where you could just build a store or a business and expect people to come in drones. With so many choices out there for services and products, we all want to know who we can trust. Who can we buy from and know we are getting a good return on our buck? We want someone we know to recommend a place to go or who to trust. Why? Because we already trust our friends.
Trust is the deciding factor. All the advertising in the world, all the marketing, press releases, and awareness campaigns will never measure up to the influence of a recommendation from a trusted friend. So begin building your return on investment by building your influence. When you nurture your network you will see it expand and you will see the rewards.
What are some of your tips for great ROI? What other factors besides trust do you see as big factors in social media? Please share them in the comments. Your opinions and suggestions are always welcome!
To Your Success,
October 7, 2009 24 Comments
The ‘rules of engagement’ of social media are somewhat vague, but pretty simple to figure out if you just apply a little bit of common sense. Consider what an essentially normal relationship is and implement the same ideas behind them when engaging in online communities. The key thing to remember is that this is social media – people are looking online for opportunities to interact and exchange information or content with similar, like minded people.
In social networking, most are unlikely to be interested in your latest sales pitch, and most are definitely not interested in promotional hype. They want interesting, fun and entertaining, informative, quirky, addictive… whatever floats their boat. When it comes to social media, you’re not just sending out a message, your inviting a response, and what you get might not be quite what you’re expecting. You need a plan to engage in social media marketing, but you also need to be flexible and respond to the online communities you’re jumping into.
Here are some very basic Social Media Rules of Engagement:
1. Be Transparent
Your honesty (or dishonesty) will be picked up right away in social media communities. If you’re a corporate blogger, use your real name, identify the company you work for, and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in something you’re writing about (like an affiliate or a sponsored review) be the first to point it out rather than waiting for someone else to “uncover”. It’s never a good situation when you seem to be hiding something, even if it was completely innocent. My personal mantra goes like this:
“Be true to yourself and who you are in your marketing, online and off. People can see right through any BS even online. You’ll build trust, and trust equals loyalty.”
2. Be Judicious
If you’re writing about a topic that you’re not completely familiar with you should make this clear to your readers. Don’t get yourself into trouble with trademarks, copyright, fair use, or trade secret disclosure laws. Respect private brands and keep yourself out of court. If you’re writing about your employer/corporation outside of their internal community you might want to use a disclaimer something like this:
“The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent ‘Your company’s name’ positions, strategies, or opinions.”
3. Be Smart
Make sure your efforts to be transparent don’t violate your employer’s privacy, confidentiality, and legal guidelines. Before you plaster that company report all over the web, be sure to clarify if it was meant to be private or kept internal. Or, if you want to write about the competition make sure you know what you’re talking about. Be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider your content carefully when you participate in social networking.
4. Perception is Reality
In online social networking, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by writing on a subject you are creating perceptions about your knowledge and expertise in that area. This can work for you or against you depending on how you write. Social media has become the new sweat equity. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on advertising if you know how to communicate and create an authority figure perception. On the other hand, if you’ve identified yourself as an employee for your company, be mindful of the perceptions you’re creating of your employer – good or bad.
5. It’s a Conversation
Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people standing in front of you or on the phone. Don’t be afraid to bring in your own personality and be open about what’s on your mind. Write your content to be open-ended and inviting a response to encourage comments. Invite other bloggers into the conversation by citing and linking to their post on the same subject. You are creating relationships and they may visit your blog and join in by commenting on your blog just to thank you for the link love.
6. Are You Adding Value?
This is probably the most important rule of social media engagement. The best way to get your blog or conversations read is to write things that people will value. Social communication should be thought-provoking and build a sense of community. If you’re helping people with their knowledge or skills, build their businesses, do their jobs, solve problems, or understand something better—then you’re adding value.
7. Create Some Excitement
It’s a big world out there and there are plenty of voices and opinions to listen to. Look for important contributions to the world and to the future of technology or your personal industry. Be the first in your online community to create a public dialogue on an issue or put your spin on an existing one. There’s always new innovations or news to discuss and write about, it’s our job to try and bring excitement to it. If you walked past a newstand and all the headlines were about the same subject, what would make you choose one publication over another? Ask yourself how you can stand out from the crowd.
8. Be a Leader
There can be a fine line between healthy debate and an argument. You don’t necessarily need to respond to every criticism or jab. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without being disrespectful. There’s something to be said about stirring up controversy and even negative publicity can attract attention in social networking. However, some topics—like politics or religion—slide more easily into sensitive territory. So be careful and considerate. Once the words are out there, you can’t really get them back.
9. Did You Screw Up?
If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If you’re posting to a blog, and you choose to modify an earlier post, your readers will appreciate you making it clear that you have done so. We are all on a learning journey and mistakes are part of life. By being honest about your goofs you’ll build your value, not lose it, and you may even put a smile on someone’s face…quite possibly yours!
10. Before You Hit Enter
If you’re about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ‘Enter.’ Take a minute to try and figure out what’s bothering you, then fix it. Ultimately, what you publish is yours—as is the responsibility. So be sure. Remember, what you publish will be around for a long time once it hits the web.
I’m sure there are more rules of engagement in social media that I have not included here. What are some of your own personal rules you follow or wish others did? Share them below in the comments!
To Your Success,
September 23, 2009 23 Comments
If you have been in social media or online marketing for any amount of time, chances are that you have heard people talking about “branding yourself” or “building your value”. You’ll find, especially in social media, that the amount of perceived value you provide to those following you is what will determine your success and growth in your industry. So, how do you build your value and brand yourself as an authority?
1. Continue To Grow
So, you might be saying, “how can I be a Leader in my niche if people think I don’t know it all already?”. NO ONE knows it all already. There are different levels of expertise, but for every level of leadership you are at there is a mutual group of people not quite where you are that is looking for guidance. Your job is simply to research your niche and learn as much as you possibly can. Attend webinars, read the blogs by your mentors, and dig in! By adding knowledge to your skill set you are building the amount of value you have to offer.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in learning is by attending live conferences in your niche. For example, October 15-17 should be booked on your calendar to attend the BlogWorld and New Media Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. Sometimes you just have to get away from the distractions and the mundane tasks to get inspired by the experts! (If you can register tonight before midnight you will save 20%.)
2. Share What You Learn
It really is your experiences that are valuable to others. Everyone is on a road leading somewhere. I can tell you from experience, that drive from Palm Springs,California to Phoenix, AZ is not an interesting one. You travel through miles and miles of barren desert where every mile looks the same as the last. I can remember the first few times making that trip that I kept wondering if I had gone the wrong way or taken a wrong highway and kept checking the map. Now that I’ve done it a few times I am confident and can tell people what to expect and what it will be like so they are prepared and don’t fret as I did.
It’s the same thing with learning something new about your niche or industry. Now that I have my blog set up and running, I could tell someone how to do it from scratch..how to buy a domain, pick a name, install WordPress, which plugins to use, set up an auto-responder, and so forth. That stuff used to boggle my brain and send me into fits of exasperation! So, now I share what I have learned. Whatever it is that you have learned, whether from your present experiences online, or from past employment…you possess something very valuable: your experience.
3. Don’t Hide Your Mistakes
Even your mistakes are valuable, because you can save someone else the time & confusion you went through to finally solve your challenge. Be authentic and share your silly goof ups once in a while. It makes you human and relatable. I love to make people smile…even if it’s at my mistakes. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your success. Your mistakes aren’t really mistakes at all, they are just lessons that teach and test you. The faster you learn what you were meant to learn from them, the faster you can move on.
When I read a blog or story of someone that is laughing at their mistakes and sharing how they got out of their mess, I get this feeling of relief to know that I am not the only one! Don’t you? Some of the best comedians base their whole act on life’s little blunders. By sharing how you fixed your dilemma and being open about it you are opening the door for loads of comments from others that relate to you. Comment love is a good feeling, especially when you know you just provided value to your readers.
Remember that every time you learn a new skill set you are adding value to your “value bank”. Be a source of knowledge and information to your niche or industry. Get out there and learn, grow & share with other people. The only people that ever create any kind of success are those that are willing to step outside their comfort zone and challenge themselves. This is how you build your value and brand yourself as a source. Invest in your own self and your own education, so get out there and start making those deposits!
So after reading this post today, how are you going to work on building your value this week? What specific action steps are you going to take? Please share them below within our little community… I always love reading your comments!
To Your Success,
September 14, 2009 6 Comments